05 Jun Preseason Scouting Notes: Matt Bushman, TE, BYU
Senior | 6’5” 240 lbs | Tuscon, AZ | First-Team All-Independent
Good athleticism for a tight end, with quick feet, good lateral agility and change of direction ability. Shows solid contact balance and burst off the line of scrimmage.
Patient zone blocker, using footwork and lateral agility to get square with EDGE defenders or LBs. He engages with solid pad level and inside hand placement and churns his legs to sustain control through the block. Bushman is a willing pass protector and shows good anchor ability, but lacks the proper hip roll and play strength to be an effective gap blocker. He can struggle against bigger DEs as a zone blocker due to an inability to re-establish leverage when lost, but his overall blocking acumen will be an asset in a zone scheme at the next level.
Solid ability to gain separation against off man coverage, with the ability to create a neutral stem to allow 2-way go. He’s able to quickly breakdown and decelerate, which makes him effective on curl and comeback routes. Bushman also has the change of direction ability and body control to execute in or out breaking routes, and solid burst to get upfield quickly on vertical routes. He excels at finding holes in zone coverage at all three levels and shows good awareness during the scramble drill. Can struggle vs press coverage, as his head fakes are not effective and he can allow the defender to get hands to his chest, restricting his route and throwing off timing.
Very good hands in traffic with the ability to box out smaller defenders and bring down most contested catches. Even when the ball is tipped or there are multiple defenders in the area, he consistently comes down with the football. Shows solid ability after the catch with quick transition from receiver to runner. Bushman routinely shows strong upfield burst, contact balance to step through arm tackles, change of direction to elude LBs in the open field, and toughness to fall forward for extra yardage.
Matt Bushman is a technically sound blocker and crafty route runner gifted with special hands. He will fit best in a zone scheme where his blocking ability will allow him to make an impact from day one. As a pass catcher, he will exploit holes in zone coverage and will be able to consistently come down with contested balls. He may struggle against press coverage and would not be a fit for a gap scheme based on his lack of sufficient play strength and hip roll.
What to look for in 2020:
Can he improve his performance vs press coverage? The one blemish on his game is something he should look to overcome in 2020. And if Bushman’s hand usage and initial fakes vs press can be improved, his name could be called day one.
Bushman’s combination of zone blocking and rare hands make him one of the top TE prospects in the draft, but his performance against press-man may hold him back from being a first round selection. Look for him to go in the early to mid second round.
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